The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
(This is chapter 8 of the second part. If you haven’t read part one of The Kavakian Empire novella yet, find it on the bar to the right. The first seven chapters of part two can also be found there.)
“How is the work going?” his father asked.
Jori sensed his father’s mood was temperate, which was good. Perhaps this was the right time to bring up something he found in the laser spec files. But first, he had to get past the forecasted information he knew his father would find unfavorable.
“We’ve successfully put the laser back together, Sir,” Jori replied. He stood in front of his father in a stiff at-ease stance. He had a slight urge to fidget. His father had a way of making him feel uneasy, even when there was nothing to be concerned about.
“How long before it’s operational?”
And this is the part Jori dreaded, but he didn’t let it show. “At least two periods.” A period was thirty day cycles.
“Two periods!” his father yelled. Even though Jori expected the outburst, his heart still jumped. But at least he didn’t visibly react. “I thought the Thendi were nearly done.”
“They were,” Jori replied. “They’ve been working on this project for almost two years, so from their perspective a couple of months means almost done.”
His father’s piercing brown eyes hardened and Jori could see his jaw clench. Jori felt the urge to bite his lip. He had worried that his tone would come out sounding flippant and tried to control it. But it was difficult with his father because the man seemed to take everything as a personal insult.
“Can you make it go faster?” he demanded.
“No, Sir.” Jori’s heart beat rapidly, but he managed to keep his outward features looking calm. “They had a team of twenty. And the people we have people need to catch up on what they were doing before any progress can be made.”
“Damn it!” He slammed his fist down on his desk, making a loud clamor.
Again, Jori expected the reaction. His heart didn’t jump this time, though. His father was angry but at least his anger didn’t feel too intense.
His father sat back in his chair and examined his digiview. He stroked his short beard in thought. Jori didn’t move a muscle. He waited patiently while his father considered his next step. His nervousness spiked again as he considered bringing up the other topic.
Before he could gather his courage though, his father looked up and locked eyes. “All your studies will be put off for now. I want you fully focused on this project. And if you sense that any of these men are slacking, you will tell your brother and let him handle it. Is that clear?”
“Sir, there’s something else,” Jori said quickly. His heart hammered in his chest.
Jori could sense his father’s impatience surge, but he didn’t let it discourage him. “In looking over these specifications, I think it would be easier to convert the laser into something that can help us mine the ores from Tymnar.”
“I’m not interested in a mining laser,” his father said in a sour tone.
“If we do these modifications…”
“If we do these modifications I won’t be able to use the laser as a weapon.” His tone was condescending now.
Jori steeled himself. “Yes, but we will make a lot more money, which we can use to expand our military.”
“Don’t be an idiot, boy. It’s not that simple.”
“Yes, actually. I think it can be. If the laser…”
“Boy!” His father stood abruptly and leaned over his desk to glare at Jori eye-to-eye. Jori resisted the urge to quail and held his father’s stare. It really was that simple. If only his father would listen. With this laser being used as a mining tool, they wouldn’t need as much slave labor. The ores could be extracted a lot more quickly. Jori did the numbers and their profits from Tymnar alone would practically double. Modifying the technology for their other mining operations would help make them profit almost as much. Jori was sure the idea of making more money would appeal to his father. He had it all worked out on the digiview he was holding. If only his father would look at it.
But Jori didn’t bring out the digiview. Nor did he speak up to make his case. Looking into his father’s eyes, he knew it would do no good. Even if his father did look at the plan, it was unlikely that he’d acknowledge it. He would never admit Jori’s ideas were better than his own, especially since Jori was just a child.
“Get your ass back to work,” his father finally said. He sat back down, but his glare made it clear what would happen if Jori persisted.
Jori left abruptly without saying a word. A part of him was glad to get away from his father’s ill temper, but as his trepidation subsided the annoyance at his father for not listening grew. Father can be stubborn. Well, so can I.
Jori was now even more determined to make sure the laser never became operational. He was not going to be responsible for killing so many innocent people ever again. If he could only find a way to help save J.T. as well.
So what do you think of this chapter? Constructive criticism is welcome.
(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright August, 2015 by Dawn Ross
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